Story and photos by Emma Oshiro

We are thrilled when customers come in with updates on their plants, but even more so when those plants have names. Charley, Martha, Walter; we’ve heard some good ones! Intrigued by this plant naming phenomenon that seems to be growing (especially among our young green thumbs) we talked to a few teens about their “monikered” plant friends.

kaya photoshop.jpg

Kaya names her plants after powerful female figures in history. Her succulents boast the names of warrior Queen Boadicea, the only Empress of Chine Wu Zeitan, and the infamous Cleopatra. A deep thinker and a young poet, it is only fitting that Kaya chose powerful and intricate names.

After careful consideration, Kaya fell in love with the names Boadicea and Melinoe and quickly named her two plants after these strong women. Ironically, Melione, named after the Greek goddess of ghosts, was dropped and subsequently died. Fortunately, Kaya continued to add to her green family, collecting plants from as far away as Kauai, continuing the legacies of the fierce women they are named after.






But, why name plants in the first place? One friend said she ‘thought it would be funny’, which we agree with: it’s hard not to crack up when telling a friend you’re heading home to water your ‘Bernard’ Another we talked to expressed a connection to nature, saying of her naming plants“… it makes them happier…” and “…plants are living things so I figure they deserve names”. One teen explained “it’s kinda like owning a pet in a way for me, since I gotta take care of them…naming them makes it more personal and forms… a connection.”










It seems that people name their plants for the same reason they name anything they care for, to show their respect and affection, no matter how wacky or funny the name might be. So feel free to tell your friends you’ve got to get home to water your Penelope and boast to your Mom about the new blooms of your Henry. Chances are, your company is heading home to hang with their plant friends too!


Each time we help someone find that perfect plant, we're curious where it's going home to.  We know some of you have incredible jungled out houses! To take a peek into your spaces, at the beginning of summer we put out the call for #paikoliving submissions on Instagram. It was hard to decide, but we picked our three winners!


Our June winner went to Matty Guevara (@mexicancoconut), who with his husband Jordan owns The Public Pet in Kaimuki. If you've been into the shop, you know they have good taste and its no surprise that THIS is what they sleep under at night. 


Our July selection went to Malia Chu (@maliachu) who demonstrated the perfect way to incorporate Paiko into her modern Hawaii home.


We ended the contest on a high note in August with Moni Naverano's (@moninaverano) incredible living room with not one, but FOUR Paiko planters as well as a macrame plant hanger from Notted Nest!

We really do have the best customers and want to send out a huge thank you to everyone who entered. Keep sharing bt tagging #paikoliving and stay tuned for details on our next contest!


This summer has been hot! To cool off we've been jumping in the ocean, finding any excuse to be in air conditioning, and searching out big shady trees. Anyone that's visited our shop knows we're in the middle of Kaka'ako, a neighborhood near to our hearts, but one of the hottest spots on Oahu.  In our asphalt covered neighborhood you have to look hard to find that shady tree.

So today we are using the blog to share some urban tree facts, and to hopefully encourage everyone to get out there and start planting. Let's make Honolulu a better place to live one tree at a time.  Treehooo!

Here are few of our favorite tree facts: 

  • The evaporation from a single tree can produce the cooling effect of 10 room size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day.
  • You can easily request a street tree planting from the Honolulu City and County's Urban Forestry Department (808.971.7151).
  • Trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30%.
  • Trees absorb and block noise and reduce glare. A well placed tree can reduce noise by as much as 40%.
  • One tree can absorb as much carbon in a year as a car produces while driving 26,000 miles. 
  • A large tree can provide a day's supply of oxygen for 4 people.
  • Urban areas with heavy tree cover are about 10 degrees cooler than urban areas with few trees.
  • Studies have proven that urban vegetation can result in slower heartbeats, lower blood pressure, and more relaxed brain wave patterns.
  • Hospital patients have been shown to recover from surgery more quickly when their hospital room offered a view of trees. They also had fewer complaints, less pain killers and left the hospital sooner.
  • Find more info on the benefits of trees here

Our current space unfortunately doesn't allow us to keep an inventory of trees, but try these nurseries for some great ones: Frankie's,  Waiahole Botanicals, Ko'olau Farmers, and Sharon's Plants.

Happy planting!

    IN BLOOM: Bird of Paradise

    On a recent walk around the neighborhood, we couldn't help but notice all the massive bird of paradise bushes studding the yards of Palolo. When passing by a bush brimming with flowers, we had to stop to offer our admiration and ask to snip a couple of stems. Throughout the year, bird of paradise leaves are a favorite for arrangements, so having a few of the flowers was a real treat! 

    We wanted to keep it simple, so we just snipped two stalks of big fresh flowers. With a vase already in mind, we kept the stems pretty short and made our way back home.


    We happened to have a few older arrangements that were ready to get tossed, so we salvaged the leaves (they tend to last longer than the flowers), and picked a nice dracaena to go with our flowers. With simple arrangements, it's all about composition. Stagger the heights of your flowers to avoid symmetry and the awkward "bunny ear" look.  With that in mind its hard to go wrong!

    To keep your bird of paradise arrangement fresh make sure to use a clean vase (we use hydrogen peroxide as a safe cleaning agent), use flower food if you have it, change the water about every other day, and remove dead petal clusters (you can gently pull up fresh ones from the pointy flower base).



    For more tips on foraging and arranging, check out our book, 'OHI: How to Gather and Arrange Hawai'i's Flora, available for purchase on our website! 

    Photos and Story by Kenna Reed 

    Paiko Living Contest

    Summer is in full swing and we wanted to kick it off with our Paiko Living IG Contest! Show us what you do with your Paiko finds at home, and be entered to win a $50 gift card and a feature on our IG and blog.


    • Your Instagram post must feature products from Paiko as you use them in your home. If your photo features a live plant, it must be in a vessel from Paiko
    • We'll select one winner per month through September
    • Winner receives a $50 gift card, a repost on our instagram, and a feature on the Paiko Living Blog at the end of the summer
    • Posts must tag @paikohawaii and mention us in the caption with hashtag #paikoliving

    Have fun and we're excited to see your beautiful homes!

    Sealing and Arranging Banana Flowers

    In our last post, we introduced you to ornamental bananas. So you've spotted those gorgeous pink flowers, gone oogly eyed over those tiny little fruit and now you want to know what's next. We know how intimidating a new bloom can be, so this week we decided to put the keikis to work, harvest a few more stalks and show you how its done.

    Banana sap is sticky and seems to permanently attach to anything it touches. So to avoid ruining your favorite vase or pants, we recommend sealing their stems before arranging. 

    You'll need:

    • Your banana stalks
    • Water
    • Vase of your choice (remember banana stalks are top heavy so, find something with a sturdy base)
    • Clippers, a sharp knife, or machete
    • A bucket you don't mind getting dirty 






    Step One

    Fill your bucket about half full. 










    Step Two

    Hold banana stalk next to vase and trim at desired height.  We recommend working with odd numbers and trimming stems at varying heights to avoid symmetry and create a more natural arrangement.





























    Step Three

    Place stems in your bucket and soak for one hour.





    paiko kenna reed banana flower






    Step Four

    Your stems are sealed so have fun arranging! Visit the Paiko flower bar for tons of choices to pair with your nanas, like our current favorite, chocolate anthuriums.


    To learn more about arranging bananas and to see examples of arrangements, see pages 20-23 of Ohi: How to Gather and Arrange Hawai'i's Flora. 


    Photos and Story by Kenna Reed


    IN BLOOM: Ornamental Bananas

    Summer is here and it seems like everything is blooming! Our kitchens are filled with lychee, mango, mountain apple, and of course, bananas. In Hawai'i we all know our favorite banana is the apple banana, for its sweet, tangy taste and cute size. But the variety that a lot of people don't know about is the ornamental banana, whose fruits (believe it or not) are even smaller and way cuter.

    Although this variety is not for eating, it's vibrant flowers and ability to stay alive in a vase for over a week make it the flower that everyone needs to enjoy this summer. 

    So keep your eyes peeled and stay tuned for our next blog on how to properly cut, seal and arrange these beauties! OR if you're not feeling patient, check out our book, 'OHI: How to Gather and Arrange Hawaii's Flora and check out the section exclusively on bananas.

    Photos and Story by Kenna Reed 



    Paiko Ohana: Jessica Onetti & Sax

    We are so thankful for our amazing staff. Our crew is made up of talented, smart, funny, people with hearts of gold, and half the reason we look forward to coming to work is just to see them. So meet Jess, our workshop director and shop gal, she's talented with the plants, the babies, and the needle and thread.

    So, tell us about you.

    Hi! I'm Jessica. I grew up in Seattle and came to live with my cousins in Kailua for my last year of high school. I went back to Seattle for some school, then ended up in Italy for 3 years where my mom is from. I moved back to Oahu over five years ago. I have always made things and been encouraged by friends and family to start selling, but it never really felt like a good fit. Sax is the first time that connection has made sense. My professional background is in teaching including traditional classrooms, ESL, urban gardening and much more! I have worked at Paiko for a year and a half and am doing a lot of the workshops- it's a very nice fit. 

    What's the story behind Sax?

    Sax was born because Courtney of Paiko wanted something similar to a plant sack she found in New Zealand (there are many amazing Sax type creations made in Australia and NZ!).  I put my own spin on it by sourcing cast away fabrics that would otherwise end up in the landfill, and I also hunt for beautiful vintage aloha wear at second hand stores. I create some of my own textiles and want to explore and learn so much more about natural dying!

    Where do you source your materials from?

    As soon as the word got out that I use up-cycled fabric, everyone and their mama wanted to give me their castaways and old fabric collections. I have gotten some of my best textiles from a friend who sells to the hospitality industry because she is left with a huge amount of small pieces that can't get used in her industry. I hunt at the thrift shops for my aloha patterns and other makers that use canvas have shared their extras. I also buy canvas new; I'm not 100% reuse. 

    What's it like being a mom and having a creative business on the side? Does your daughter Alba ever influence or help you in the creative process?

    Being a mom adds a layer of complexity as well as major motivation. My kid often makes it much harder to get work done but she has also been sitting on my lap pressing the sewing machine pedal since before she was two! Those moments when she sees herself creating are the best, and she wants to be my helper. Many people in Hawaii wear multiple hats when it comes to work and art and we are good at the balancing act. 











    Photos and Interview by Kenna Reed

    Mother's Day at Paiko

    Mother's Day is right around the corner (May 14th to be exact), and we've been stocking up on beautiful plants, flowers, and treasures that make it easy to show Mom your love. 


    Hand tied, mostly local, and beautifully wrapped for easy pick up, our Mother's Day bouquet features Waiahole beehive ginger, Hilo anthuriums, fresh eucalyptus, and local oncidium orchids, and select spring flowers from Half Moon Bay CA (vase not included/ king protea are unfortunatley no longer available). We always sell out of these beauties, so pre-ordering is highly recommended. 

    $ 90 ea // bouquets are approx 14 "day and come wrapped in Paiko butcher paper and ribbon




    From now until Mom's Day, the shop will be stocked with classic orchids, all grown locally, all in bloom, and all ready for Mom. Surprisingly easy to care for, our orchids are an easy way to make Mom smile.


    Photos and story by Kenna Reed

    In Bloom: Plumeria

    Summer is just around the corner and you know what that means? Plumeria. And lots of it. 



    Today, we took a drive around Kaimuki and captured a few of the different varieties of plumeria blooming in full force. So get your lei needles out, or just snap off a stem for your favorite small vase. That sweet intoxicating perfume is too amazing to leave outside.


    To view the largest collection of plumeria trees on the island visit Koko Crater Botanical Garden. For ideas on using plumeria in your home check out our book 'OHI: How to Gather and Arrange Hawaii's Flora.

    Photos and Story by Kenna Reed